A public hearing to discuss environmental cleanup options to help prepare the historic Sibley Mill for redevelopment will be held Thursday at the Kroc Center music room.
The Augusta Canal Authority, which purchased the 518,000-square-foot mill in 2010 for $800,000, is applying for a grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program to fund the next phase of environmental remediation.
The hearing will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors can receive information and offer comments, both on the cleanup planned at the site and on potential uses for the vacant property.
The mill has a long history, beginning with its creation atop the ruins of the Confederate Powderworks that operated during the Civil War. Josiah Sibley, a cotton broker from Massachusetts, bought 550,000 bricks from the demolished munitions plant and incorporated them into the design of his mill. Sibley’s daughter Pearl laid the last brick on Jan. 27, 1882.
For 124 years, generations of Augustans toiled night and day, but in July 2006, the Sibleys’ looms fell silent, and its remaining workers were idled after its owners succumbed to tough economic times.
The canal authority has helped maintain the site and has conducted about $180,000 in cleanup work that included removal of mercury from the mill’s boiler room and removal of pesticide residue from basement areas. Workers also tore out old pipelines and cut apart steel caustic tanks to be sold for scrap metal.
Other phases of cleanup and stabilization will occur as money becomes available.
For more information on the hearing or the mill, contact the canal authority at (706) 823-0440, Ext. 1.